Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a staggering five-year deal with Real Madrid – worth almost twice as much as Gareth Bale will be earning in Spain.
Under the new agreement, which scuppers any immediate hope Manchester United have of persuading their former player to return, Ronaldo will earn a remarkable £15million a year after tax and before bonuses, or £288,000 a week, dwarfing Bale’s annual £8.3m.
The contract is a clear indication that Ronaldo remains the main man at the Bernabeu – despite Bale’s world-record £86m move from Tottenham Hotspur.
And it is a further blow to David Moyes’s ambitions at United, with rumours throughout the summer that an attempt would be made to persuade Ronaldo to return to Old Trafford.
Only last year the player talked of being ‘sad’ at Madrid, and Bale’s arrival, breaking Ronaldo’s record transfer fee from United, was thought to have further damaged his ego.
Now Madrid president Florentino Perez has gone to tremendous lengths to show Ronaldo that he is still the club’s priority player, and the pair appeared at a press conference yesterday to announce the record deal.
Ronaldo is now believed to be the highest paid footballer in the world – his contract is worth £850,000 more annually than Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s deal with Paris Saint- Germain – and he said: “I’m really happy here. I just want to win trophies for this club. Manchester is in the past – I’ll be here five more years.
“I appreciate the fans like me a lot and I want to give my best on the pitch. Everyone knows I was in Manchester for six years but now my club is Real Madrid. This is my home, my family is here and I’m really happy here.
“I respect all the clubs who ask about me. But they always know that my decision, that my only goal, is to be here and to play at this club until, maybe, the end of my career.’
Ronaldo said he told Perez he would sign a new contract at the end of last season, but the deal was held up by details, which he insisted were not financial.
“The day I said I was sad, that day I was a little sad,” Ronaldo admitted. “It’s normal. It’s human. Maybe I shouldn’t have said it publicly, but I am not perfect. I make mistakes like everyone else, but it happened and that page has been turned.
“Now I am fine, comfortable and very motivated. In life there are more important things than money. It’s important. I won’t lie – but the project the club had was more important. The club want to sign the best players, and I feel included in that.”
The deal takes Ronaldo through to beyond his 33rd birthday which, if honoured, would effectively end Manchester United’s interest. United had wanted him to let his deal run down towards 2015, when he could be bought for a reduced fee. There had been talk of a £50m signing-on package, but the Madrid deal – worth £76m – blows that out of the water.
“Ronaldo has won the hearts of all of Madrid’s fans,” Perez added. ”It’s a great day for the club. We have made the dream of all madridistas: Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid will remain for ever.”
Martin Samuels | © 2013 Daily Mail, Sky News